Mid-Season Report Card: Chase Headley

Grade: C-

As we continue to grade the Yankee players’ seasons at the halfway point, it is Chase Headley’s turn to be analyzed. Headley is currently in the midst of his third full season in the Bronx, which would make it his third consecutive mediocre season as the Yankees’ third baseman. After a scorching hot April, Headley’s dreadful play in May made him an extreme liability in the batting order. With Gleyber Torres’ injury, Headley has been given more time to try to finally prove to the Yankees that he was worth the 52-million-dollar contract that he signed prior to 2015.
Photo Credit: Sportsnet

First Half Performance:
Chase Headley silenced all of his former critics at the beginning of the season. In the month of April, Headley had an OBP of .402, and along with Aaron Judge and Starlin Castro, he helped carry a Yankee offense that was missing Didi Gregorius and Gary Sanchez. Everyone thought this could be Headley’s breakout season in the Bronx, after never putting up numbers like his 2012 season in San Diego.

The turn of the calendar was also the downward spiral of Headley’s season. He walked three times as little as he did in April, and his batting average was .140 points lower than it was in April. His struggles became so apparent that Joe Girardi sat Headley so he could “clear his head.” This method was unsuccessful as he continued to hit at a .446 OPS, which is lower than what Aaron Judge’s OBP alone has been for most of the season. Rumors circulated that a certain minor leaguer would take his job, but he unfortunately suffered a season ending injury that required Tommy John.
Photo Credit: The Runner
June was once again another story as Headley has hit close to .300 and has increased his walk rate back to where it was in April. However, his power numbers are extremely down and his SLG currently sits at a measly .365. He has hit only four home runs, three of which were in April, at the season’s halfway point.

Second Half Expectations:

Miguel Andujar’s solid Major League debut showed the Yankees that there is a quality replacement within their organization, if Chase Headley fails to produce. With the pressure on him to perform, Headley will need to continue to hit for a good average to compensate for his career worst power numbers that he is currently displaying.

Headley’s biggest issue is his inability to hit southpaws. Headley is a switch hitter, and when he is on the right side, he becomes as close to an automatic out as it gets. Headley is slashing .184/.215/.263 against left handed pitchers. This split severely drags down Headley’s stats, and he needs to improve his right-handed swing or abandon it, if he wants to remain an everyday third baseman. If Headley fails to hit against lefties, expect Andujar or Torreyes to see more starts at the hot corner.

Conclusion:


Headley’s above average months of April and June are not reflected in his season statistics, due to his dreadful May. Headley’s inconsistency makes him extremely unpredictable, and fans are starting to get restless with their third baseman. With Torres out, Headley’s job is safer than it was a month ago, but with the Yankees’ dedication to getting younger, it would not be surprising to see Headley receive less and less at-bats against lefties and eventually possibly end up in a platoon-like situation. A grade of a C- may seem a little harsh for a player that had just one bad month, but it was reminiscent of his April in 2016 as his numbers were hurting his team way more than contributing to it for a large portion of the season.

Article by: Ryan Thoms
 

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